ISS: Increase in murder rate concerning

2014-09-19 19:01
(File, Nielen Bottomley, News24)

(File, Nielen Bottomley, News24)

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Johannesburg - The Institute for Security Studies on Friday said it was concerned that murder had increased for two consecutive years for the first time in democracy.

"These statistics should be a wake-up for all South Africans. For the first time in democracy... we've had two consecutive years where murder has increased," Gareth Newham, head of the ISS governance, crime and justice division, told reporters.

"It's no longer a slight hike... I don't believe the police can handle it on its own."

Newham said the success of the 2009/10 Gauteng Aggravated Robbery Strategy showed the potential of the police to address violent crime.

"We know what the police can do and have done, but they're not doing it at the moment.

"Experienced operational commanders working to a strategy can get on top of this crime."


He said there needed to be a national anti-robbery strategy driven by the police.

Newham said as long as criminals got away with attacking people, it became an incentive for others to do the same.

The ISS welcomed the call by Minister of Police Nkosinathi Nhleko for a national dialogue on reducing crime and violence in South Africa and implementing the national development plan (NDP).

This would focus on professionalising the police and the use of an integrated strategy.

Newham welcomed the NDP's policy of a national policing board which would set clear standards and develop a clear turn-around strategy.

Meanwhile, ISS senior researcher Dr Chandre Gould said the anomalies in the 2013/2014 crime statistics were concerning.

Rape ‘under-reported’

"The most serious categories of violent crimes have increased. Yet, curiously, cases of common and aggravated assault are down," she said.

"What these stats tell us most profoundly is what we've been doing up to now is not working. High levels of violence undermine investor confidence, drive up costs in the health sector and have a negative impact on all sectors of society."

Gould said rape was under-reported and that police policy needed to be shifted in order to encourage the reporting and recording of rape.

She suggested that evidence-based programmes and multi-sector approaches be implemented in order to combat violent crimes.

Newham and Gould said further disaggregated statistics were needed.

"[We are] calling for stats to be released more often, monthly, on a local level," Newham said.

"If you don't know what's driving the murders, you can't actively tailor-make solutions."

Read more on:    police  |  iss  |  nkosinathi nhleko  |  crime  |  crime stats 2014

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